What to Do About Leftovers

by T.J.

Leftovers, leftovers. What to do about them, especially when you've got half a cup of peas or a less-than-one portion of anything else. In our house, we have 2 solutions.

One is smorg night. I freeze all those bits and pieces as they appear, then gather an interesting combination on a Friday evening or other lazy-day. It's like going to the smorg at your local restaurant.

There's another reason why I freeze these small amounts of left-overs separately, not in the same container to make soup, for example. It's so that at each meal I can pick and choose a different combination. That leftover chicken would go great with those peas, then add the small amount of leftover carrots we had the night before, etc.

Also, it allows me to use a greater number of ingredients in my meals which seems to improve the taste. My quiche is different each time because I'll put different veggies and small bits of meat in it, depending on what's available. People ask me for my recipe, but there really isn't one.

I do the same with spices, etc. I grow chives in the summer and chop them up and freeze them, adding them to everything from omelets to soups all winter long. Have you seen the price of dried chives??? We don't pay a cent, they just keep growing year after year.

We love green olives, but I find that some go bad by the time I finish the big jar. So I freeze these in small plastic bags. Like the chives, when I'm ready for some extra condiment in a meal or salad, I'll go to the freezer and 'shop' for what I need--chives, olives, even frozen oregano (which I grew in the summer from a potted plant that cost about $2).

And tomatoes. If you've got one that's getting too ripe, pop it into the freezer. You can use it later for sauces, soups, etc.

This cooking by bits and pieces is really easy and we get rave reviews from guests. And we're saving money, since we're eating many meals made up of leftovers.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by email to MyStory@stretcher.com

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